Sunrise have chance to challenge for league title - coach Gatera

After defeating Marines 1-0 on Saturday at Nyagatare ground to move up to third place in the Azam Rwanda Premier League, Sunrise FC head coach Alphose Gatera has admitted his team have a chance to compete for the title.
Former Rayon Sports midfielder Leon Uwambajimana (#6) scored the only goal as Sunrise beat Marines 1-0 on Saturday to go third in the league table. File
Former Rayon Sports midfielder Leon Uwambajimana (#6) scored the only goal as Sunrise beat Marines 1-0 on Saturday to go third in the league table. File

Saturday

Sunrise FC 1-0 Marines
Kirehe 2-1 Miroplast FC

Friday
Giccumbi FC 0-1 SC Kiyovu

After defeating Marines 1-0 on Saturday at Nyagatare ground to move up to third place in the Azam Rwanda Premier League, Sunrise FC head coach Alphose Gatera has admitted his team have a chance to compete for the title.

It may be early and one may excuse Gatera for setting himself the highest of targets, but Sunrise are flying high after two wins, two draws and one defeat from five rounds of matches in a league season that has already provided shock results.

Sunrise’s solitary first-half goal from former Rayon Sports midfielder Leon Uwambajimana was enough to hand the Eastern Province-based club an important victory over Marines, who remained in 12th place on the log with five points, two ahead of Espoir and Musanze FC, who occupy the bottom two spots albeit having played a game less.

Gatera’s side are third with eight points, one behind leaders Police FC and SC Kiyovu but one ahead of record 16-time league winners APR FC, AS Kigali, who spent big to assemble a team to win trophies and reigning champions Rayon Sports.

The later trio was not in action this weekend due to Amavubi’s CHAN 2018 playoff qualifier first leg clash against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The former Espoir FC trainer noted that, “It’s very possible (to challenge for the title) if you look at how the teams are so close but we cannot stat talking about the title at the begging of the season, we just need to work hard and see what the future will bring.”

Probed further about their league title ambitions, the former Rayon Sports defender said, “We are not far from top teams so we will keep working hard because it is only three points and anyone can win the title so we will go for it but first we will go game by game.”

Elsewhere, Kirehe FC came from behind to earn three points against new boys Miroplast FC 2-1 at Nyakarambi ground in Kirehe District.

Miroplas took an early lead through Pekeyake Tuyisenge in the tenth minute but striker Jean Paul Uwimbabazi netted a brace, the first coming in the 50th minute and the second 20 minutes later, to seal a second win for Abdoul Karim Nduhirabandi’s team.

The victory took Kirehe up to sixth place with six points, three behind the leading duo. Kirehe came into the match on Saturday on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the champions last weekend.

After getting one over his former employers, Nduhirabandi admitted that it is possible for his new side to continue moving up the table and stay away from the relegation zone.

“I talked to the players after losing to Rayon Sports, and I emphasised to them that there is no shame losing to big teams, I wanted to bring back their confidence and it showed against Miroplast. This is a big motivation for us. We will keep working hard and look for more points,” Nduhirabandi said.

Earlier on Friday, SC Kiyovu moved up to second place following a 1-0 victory over Gicumbi FC, to add to last weekend’s famous 1-0 triumph against APR, their first in the league for 12 years.

Skipper Fabrice Kakule Mugheni scored the stunning winner in the 42nd minute for Andre Cassa Mbungo’s outfit, while Gicumbi remained 9th with six points.

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